They met back in the seventh grade, on the Football University national team. They started out as teammates, bonded, and then became friends.
Quarterback Tommy DeVito and wide receiver Eddie Lewis, both prospects in the Class of 2017 out of New Jersey, have remained close friends in the four years since they first met. In another two years, they might just revert back to their original relationship - teammates; this time, as members of the Syracuse Orange football program.
DeVito already committed to the Orange back in April. On Monday, the prospect out of Don Bosco Prep made the cut at the prestigious Elite 11, earning an invite to The Nike+ Football Opening Finals in Beaverton, Ore., which will be held from July 8-10.
Lewis is an uncommitted wide receiver out of Mater Dei High School in Middletown, NJ. Rated three stars and the No. 88 wide receiver in the 2017 class by 247Sports.com's composite rankings, he visited SU last Thursday and came away with an offer. The Orange made Lewis's top five, along with Rutgers, Indiana, North Carolina and Boston College.
Lewis is working on narrowing his list to a top three before taking a final round of unofficial visits. He hopes to commit before his senior year gets underway. Syracuse.com's Stephen Bailey spoke with both yesterday at the Harbaugh camp in Paramus, N.J. Quotes included are from that piece:
This is what Lewis had to say about his visit to Syracuse last week:
"When I went there on my visit, immediately when I stepped through the door, everybody was there to welcome me. And that's what I like a lot because that shows they'll be here through the hard times and the good times. That was the big thing that stood out to me."
DeVito recruits his friend on a daily basis, preaching Dino Babers's hurry-up offense, the personal relationships Syracuse's staff members build and the home-field advantage that the Carrier Dome provides.
Since the pair has built such a strong relationship, DeVito's opinions carry weight with Lewis. The duo likes to line up together in drills at camps, and usually go out to grab food together afterward. Said DeVito:
"If I can get him to come to college with me, it really would be the best thing ever."
Lewis receives messages from SU defensive line coach Vinson Reynolds almost every day, and also hears regularly from director of high school relations J.B. Gerald. He said he expects to visit SU again "real soon", which bodes well for the Orange's chances of making his final three.
His other top schools, though, are staying on him as well.
"Every school is pushing as hard. Syracuse is on me every day. Rutgers is on me every day. Indiana, too."
As a junior, the 6-foot, 180-pound wide receiver caught 31 passes for 449 yards and four touchdowns, per NJ.com, despite missing five games due to a sprained PCL and MCL. He also recorded four interceptions, 20 tackles and two punt return touchdowns.
At Syracuse, Lewis said, he could play either the outside or inside position. Either way, he expects to see a lot of action.
"They said all they do is throw the ball, about 90 percent of the time. Hey man, I like the ball in my hands."
As the summer progresses, so will his recruiting process. And Lewis knows that DeVito will be in his ear pushing Syracuse the whole way. Said DeVito:
"Of course I want him to come to Syracuse. I talk to him every single day, but at the end of the day he has to do what's best for him."
Here are some video highlights from Lewis's junior year: